What is the Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience?

Although these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, customer service is not the same as customer experience. In short, customer service is just a section of customer experience; it’s focused on directly helping the customers and solving their immediate problems, whereas customer experience includes every stage of the customer journey.   Customer service refers to specific practices directed towards assisting customers. For example, a call centre, email support centre or a complaint handling department all belong to customer service because they exist primarily to solve customers’ problems. Customer experience (or CX), however, goes much further than that.   It includes all the interactions a customer has with your business, from the awareness stage, along the whole buying process, right down to the purchase decision – and beyond. To make it easier to follow and understand, let’s compare the two concepts in greater detail.

Reacting vs. Anticipating

Customer service reacts to an issue that comes up, addressing the customer’s concern, solving their problem, etc. CX is all about anticipating the problems customers might have along the way and trying to prevent those problems from happening. It thinks long-term and focuses on all the aspects of the customer journey that can be improved pr further developed.

Departments vs. Company

Customer service is connected to specific departments within the company, be it the call centre, email support, etc. On the other hand, CX includes all company efforts directed towards improving customer journey. From branding to marketing campaigns, and product design to customer perception, CX encompasses the whole landscape.

Specific vs. General

Customer service solves specific problems or addresses specific issues customers might have. Its role is not to improve the entire customer journey or improve upon the customers’ perception of the business. Instead, the role of CX is to improve the entire customer journey, reinforce the brand, increase trust in the company and retain loyalty.

Isolated vs. Continual

Ideally, there shouldn’t be much work for customer service (the less work, the better). It should react to isolated, one-time occurrences or those happening sporadically. Customer experience, on the other hand, is a continuous business practice; it never stops improving and perfecting. CX helps set the course for the entire company and strengthen its position in the market.

Which one is more important?

Since customer service is a vital part of customer experience, it’s impossible to say which one is more important; they are both important in their own right, and they both help each other along the way.   What we can say, however, is that there is no good CX without exquisite customer service. Likewise, having high-quality customer service won’t beuseful if all other aspects of your company are of a low standard. Customer experience reflects all departments of a company and helps everything run like clockwork.  

Have you done outstanding work for your Customer Experience? If you’d like to share your results and gain more prominence in the market, apply for UKCXA21 via link: